He’s not as good as the four players who preceded him; let’s get that out of the way first. He’s raw with a capital “R” and it’s still a complete unknown whether he has the football knowledge to take in an NFL playbook.
However, of all the defensive prospects in this year’s draft class, Hunt is the one who possesses the intangibles that are so tempting for a GM.
He’s 6’8” and 277 pounds, also running the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds, via NFLDraftScout.com. He battered Fresno State’s offense into submission in the Hawaii Bowl, basically all by himself. Any defensive player who can dominate a ball game like that is an insane opponent.
In the first half alone, Hunt had three tackles for loss, two sacks, forced two fumbles and a safety. Players looked genuinely scared of him, which is a huge bonus for a defensive coordinator.
On top of that, the hits he delivers to quarterbacks are ferocious to the point of being ridiculous. Any QB who takes a hit from Hunt knows exactly where he is on the next play. Once a player gets into the mind of his opponent, he’s already halfway to beating him.
Hunt’s performance in the bowl game will see his stock rise, but it’s important to remember that he needs a lot of work. He’s not a first-round pick like the players mentioned before.
He has poor instincts, poor hands and poor lateral quickness. His college stats reflect this, and he had just 31 tackles this year. He isn’t a Day 1 starter and hasn’t played enough football to rely on his natural ability to get by while he learns the league.
He’s worth a pick, though, and his stock could rise further after the combine. If he can learn to use his hands to get off blocks, he’ll be an even more frightening prospect.